By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published September 27, 2012
The Year of Faith in the Catholic Church begins on October 11, marking a time church leaders hope leads to a renewal of faith and a willingness to share it.
Pope Benedict XVI in his letter “Porta Fidei” (“The Door of Faith”) wrote that the year coincides with the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It ends on the feast of Christ the King in 2013.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory wrote in an August letter that the year is an invitation to “rediscover and renew our relationship with Christ and his church.”
“The Holy Father has called the Year of Faith, ‘a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world,’ an opportunity for all Catholics to experience a conversion—to turn to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The pope has described this conversion as opening the ‘door of faith.’ This Year of Faith is an invitation to open this door again, first opened at baptism, walk through it, rediscover and renew our relationship with Christ and his church,” Archbishop Gregory wrote.
Catholics To Pray And Study During The Year Of Faith
Many parishes in the Atlanta Archdiocese are expected to pray and study the key themes of the Year of Faith.
Allan Talley is 38 so the upcoming discussions about Vatican Council II at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Carrollton, are going to be a history lesson.
“Something I’m looking forward to is getting different folks together and talk about what it was like before Vatican II,” said Talley, who recently became the parish administrator.
The parish did workshops last year about the changes in the English translation of the Mass and touched on the Second Vatican Council. The idea this year was to expand the discussion and examine more documents, Talley said. He is also the parish leader of adult faith formation and RCIA.
The parish community will explore three key documents, “Dei Verbum” (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation), “Unitatis Redintegratio” (Decree on Ecumenism), and “Sacrosanctum Concilium,” (Constitution on Sacred Liturgy). The presentations are during three weekends at the end of October and early November.
Ecumenism is important because Catholics are few in number in Carroll County and it is important to understand how the church views working with people of other denominations and faiths, he said.
LaSalette Father Lamartine Eliscar, a priest at St. Ann Church, Marietta, said the parish has events lined up for the fall, with speakers, a celebration of lay ministries, and parish retreats.
A Lay Ministry Celebration and Convocation is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 18, to highlight the church’s lay ministry work. Msgr. Henry Gracz, pastor of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Atlanta, will give the keynote talk and share his perspective of the 50 years since the inception of Vatican II.
In November, a program called “Scratch Catholicism” is a follow up to the “Welcome Home” program the archdiocese began two years ago. This program is directed toward returning Catholics to assist them, especially those who need healing. And the last weekend of October, the parish is putting on an open house in its library with Church Library Month.
Key Archdiocesan Events
Year of Faith Opening Mass: Oct. 11, 2012; Cathedral of Christ the King; 12:10 p.m.
Eucharistic Congress, May 31-June 1, 2013; Georgia International Convention Center, College Park
Year of Faith Closing Mass: November 2013
A Resource Guide For The Year Of Faith Is Available
The archdiocesan Office of Formation and Discipleship organized resources to guide parishes and Catholics to participate in the year. It divides the year into quarters with different themes. Individuals, small faith communities, schools and parish religious education programs can use it. Some groups may choose to focus on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Others may focus on the Second Vatican Council. Suggested resources from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will be available.
With the special emphasis on Mary in Atlanta during the Year of Faith, there also will be guides to the various cultural Marian celebrations.
Different ethnic communities honor Mary under her varied titles and through many devotions cherished in homelands, from Mexico, Puerto Rico and Brazil to Vietnam, Ghana, and the European nations.
“As an expression of faith personified, that’s going on throughout Atlanta all the time. She is bringing us all together,” said Amy Daniels, the director of the Office of Faith and Discipleship.
Smartphone Users Follow The Year Of Faith With A Free App
The archdiocese is embracing technology for the Year of Faith.
A special web page on the Atlanta archdiocesan website is being created and will be available to provide resources.
In time for the Oct. 11 start will be a smartphone app that users can download for free. It will be available for both iPhones and Android users.
“The use of modern technology in the spreading of the Gospel message and helping our brothers and sisters draw closer to God is exactly what Blessed John Paul II had in mind in his teaching on the New Evangelization. We are not to shun the use of modern means of communicating the Gospel, but rather we are to embrace them,” said Deacon Steve Swope, one of the members of the organizing committee.
Joe Crowley is both a candidate for the permanent diaconate and creates software for a technology company. He designed the app that people can download for the Year of Faith.
“I’m looking forward to the mobile app. In developing the mobile app I get to combine two passions: evangelization and technology. I’m hoping that users of the app will have a deeper experience with the Year of Faith as they follow along with the daily prayers and quarterly themes and other features,” he said.
Daniels said the tool is to reach out to people and also encourage them to share their faith. She hoped the website and the app show the “benefit and the beauty of a prayer each day” to become a new habit for some and for others to add to their spiritual life.
On the app, each day will offer a daily prayer and reflection.
And a feature Daniels said she’s excited about is its local emphasis.
“What will be unique is the thoughts and prayers will come from Catholics in the Archdiocese of Atlanta who will be able to submit their prayers and they will be shared with others through the app,” she said.
Also a feature on the app will be a calendar of events so people can be involved in as many of the local cultural and religious celebrations of the Virgin Mary as they like, Daniels said.
The Archdiocese of Atlanta is sponsoring a video contest for all ages. Videos should reflect two themes, Our Catholic Faith or Mary, Faith Personified. Submissions are due Feb. 2, 2013. The videos are limited to three minutes. The videos will appear randomly on the Atlanta Archdiocese YouTube channel during the Year of Faith. The submissions will remain the property of the archdiocese to share with others, and the creators will receive credit. The winners of the contest will be announced at the 2013 Eucharistic Congress whose theme is “Do Whatever He Tells You: Mary and the Year of Faith.”
The contest entries will be available for viewing on the website and app users will be able to watch the videos.